Very belated post here on Canadian Music Week, but I have been neglecting good ol’ TOTT and have to play catchup.
I got hooked up with a wristband for the week which was super awesome. There was a lot going on so I did my best to make it to as much as I could.
The highlights were the East Coasters.
I saw an old Haligonian pal Willie Stratton play with his new band at the Dakota Tavern. It was a my first time at the iconic Toronto venue (I know), and a show I’m glad I didn’t miss. Willie was joined by two other members, a slide guitarist and stand-up bass player. All of the group were clad in matching denim ensembles set with cowboy hats and boots. The group loved every minute of it and were showing off their best swingin’ western moves. The group stopped in to Toronto for CMW while on a Eastern tour. If they ever swing back to the city, I recommend everyone makes a point to bring their cowboy dancing boots and see them live.
The other East Coaster was small town PEI native Dylan Menzie. I got the chance to see him at a showcase put on my AudioBlood at the Porch. It really was the perfect afternoon. The Porch has to have the best location in the entire city. It seems to hog all the sun and has one of the best views of the CN tower. Menzie sort of reminded me of Paul Simon, which I know is a bold thing to say considering how unique Mr. Simon is- but I stand by that comparison. He played hits from his upcoming album as well as some older tunes. My favourite part was when he covered Tame Impala’s “Disciples”. I was stunned – that’s a tough group to cover no matter what type of music you play, but to hear the Indie folk rocker recreate the tune just with the accompanying drums and bass was really incredible.
The lowlights from the week were how I found out the musicians don’t get paid to play in CMW. I get that the point is to showcase up-and-comers, and it’s a great platform for them to get heard while getting experience playing live, but you know the bigger names (Tegan and Sarah, Lights, Black Lips- I’m looking at you) got paid, and to me that’s just not right. I believe that musicians should get paid for their work. Especially when playing it live.
Some other great acts I saw live were Alberta’s The Royal Foundry and Kingston’s Lost Cousins. The Royal Foundry is centered around an adorable husband and wife. Need proof? Check out their video for All We Have. The Lost Cousins are a couple of University boys that jam together and now have a sick band.
I definitely recommend anyone to check out all of the above artists.